This will probably be old news by the time we publish, but I have nothing else today. Anyway, there’s a cool write-up today on Doug White’s Poinography blog (poinography.com) wondering who exactly is part of a new, ostensibly grass-roots organization called Friends of Hawaii Superferry. According to the official Friends website (www.hawaiisuperferryfriends.com), the group “is a coalition of residents and local businesses who care for the future of our islands’ communities and have come together to support Hawaii Superferry.” How touching—a bunch of locals banded together to protect the poor Superferry from the evil environmentalists. Now White scoffed at this—possibly because the website is far more sophisticated and polished than those usually associated with grass roots groups—and I’ve got to agree. But for me, the clincher appears on the home page, where Friends lists its home address as One Waterfront Plaza, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., Suite 300, Honolulu—which happens to be the same office used by Hawai`i Superferry, Inc. Hey, Superferry boosters: can you please work a little bit harder to mask your well-heeled, bullshit populist groups? At least make me track a few front groups or something. But using the same office? Pathetic.
THURSDAY, Sept. 20
Speaking of pathetic, did you see Governor Linda Lingle venture over to enemy territory (that would be Kauai) to try to sell residents over there on the many positive aspects to the Superferry, including the slightly-controversial decision that the company’s fast ferry Alakai will resume Oahu-Kauai service next week? About a thousand people showed up to listen to her, according to the Associated Press, and it looks like nearly all decided to exercise their Constitutional rights to boo and hiss at her and criticize her cozy ties to Big Business. Some reportedly even promised to return to Nawiliwili Harbor and make sure the Alakai wouldn’t be able to dock if it came back. In fact, the reception to Lingle’s little goodwill appearance was apparently so hostile that if that “Don’t tase me, bro!” guy showed, he would have had a calming influence.
FRIDAY, Sept. 21
What, too soon?
SATURDAY, Sept. 22
Okay, now it looks like the Superferry won’t be returning to Kauai anytime soon. This is odd because yesterday Judge Randal Valenciano’s Friday ruling that the opposition group 1,000 Friends of Kauai couldn’t sue to get the Superferry stopped on environmental grounds because they were too late. But last night at 7 p.m. Superferry public relations firm McNeil Wilson Communications sent out a release saying that “in light of” Valenciano’s ruling, the Superferry would not resume service to Kauai. Nope—the company was indefinitely suspending Kauai service, even though McNeil Wilson’s release insisted that Valenciano’s ruling affirmed “Hawaii Superferry’s compliance with environmental laws, rules and regulations as presented to us by the State of Hawai‘i” and removed “all legal barriers for Hawaii Superferry’s service to Kaua‘i.” Oops! Did they say “all legal barriers?” Yeah, that is not even close to right, and explains why 45 minutes later McNeill Wilson sent out a new release, this time stating that Valenciano’s ruling removed “all environmental legal barriers” to the Superferry returning to Kauai. How embarrassing.
SUNDAY, Sept. 23
Got a bittersweet feeling when I looked over today’s Honolulu Star-Bulletin and saw a giant story extensively quoting University of Hawai`i geologist Charles “Chip” Fletcher on how global warming and rising sea levels will, over the next century, drown Hawai‘i’s beaches. Bitter because I really love Maui’s white sand and gorgeous coastline and will feel really bad as I watch them slowly disappear beneath the waves for the rest of my life, but rather sweet because we totally beat the Star-Bulletin on this story by nearly a year. In your face big Honolulu daily paper! Our reporter Cheryl Ambrozic was quoting Fletcher way back in our Dec. 7, 2006 cover story “Sand Castle” on how Maui’s beaches were eroding away and all us beach lovers—and millions of people around the world, I guess—are pretty much screwed. Seriously: the whole concept of “beaches” is going to be history in the next hundred years. No more stretches of sand gently sliding into warm surf. Because of global warming, our sea levels will rise and consume all of world’s beaches—drowning everything humanity has ever built within a few miles of every coastline. Rocks, sandbags and seawalls pushing back the ocean will be the closest things my generation’s grandchildren have to sandy beaches. And it’s all because Western Civilization thought the Industrial Revolution was going to solve all our problems.
MONDAY, Sept. 24
Now here’s good news: the water that will inundate Hawai‘i’s coastlines will also be even more acidic than usual because—oh wait, it’s acidic right now. Today the Star-Bulletin, which has recently become an inexhaustible fountain of joy, is reporting that our wonderful tradewinds have been blowing our—okay, Honolulu’s—smog out into the ocean, where it deposits its sulfur and nitrogen into the water in the form of acid rain. This makes the ocean acidic, which in turn prevents coral, sea urchins and the like from forming proper exoskeletons, which thus makes them die off, potentially throwing the entire oceanic food chain out of balance. Stupid Industrial Revolution.
TUESDAY, Sept. 25
Airline passengers have rights? Since when? According to a press release I got the other day from 2nd District U.S. Congresswoman Mazie Hirono’s office, not only do airline passengers indeed have rights, but the U.S. House of Representatives just passed something called the FAA Reauthorization Act that will actually “protect the rights of passengers” by requiring airlines and airports “to take care of passengers who are involved in long flight and tarmac delays.” What’s more, the airlines and airports “must account for the provision of food, water, clean restrooms and medical care for passengers” or face “strict fines.” Now the U.S. Senate has yet to vote on the bill and I think we all know what President George W. Bush will do if it reaches his desk, but seriously—can you think of the last time Congress put the screws on Big Business to help out regular people? Almost gives you hope.
Anthony Pignataro realizes that yeah, it probably is too soon. MTW